Teams are calling about a potential trade for Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, and while a trade involving the unique superstar is seen as highly unlikely, the Angels may for the first time not be hanging up the phone.
The Angels are telling teams to listen to everyone after the surprise collapse of their team with a very strong start that had them in first place in May. That doesn’t mean all-time great Mike Trout has a chance to be moved, as he has a no-trade clause, is currently fighting a rebound and is playing under a long-term deal.
A trade involving Ohtani might be just a little more likely than Trout, considering longtime Angels owner Arte Moreno loves his biggest stars and seems more involved than most owners. Two executives who called Ohtani expressed doubt that the Angels would pull the trigger on such a mega-deal based on the history of the team and owner.
While the Angels’ most likely selling pieces are starter Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and relievers Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup, they get involved when rival managers mention Ohtani. This won’t be easy, as it will involve a massive pullback (plus ownership approval) in the five days remaining before the August 2nd trade deadline.
No surprise, there is talk that it would take something completely eye-popping for the Angels to even seriously consider trading Ohtani. The 2021 MVP is back in that race again as he combines outstanding pitching and hitting feats.
The teams currently trying out for Nats superstar outfielder Juan Soto are the most logical to call up Ohtani, as they are the aggressive teams with prospects to give themselves a chance. The Padres, Rangers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Mariners are among the teams in the mix for Soto, but it’s not known which teams have called on Ohtani, who has the added benefit of being an incredible drawing card and marketing tool.
The other plus is that he’s only making $5 million in the second year of a two-year deal, and more than pays for himself in marketing opportunities. He is not a free agent until after 2023 (Soto is free after 2024).
Ohtani’s pitching has actually improved this year, as he is 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. He has 21 home runs this year after hitting 46 last year and winning the league’s top hitter award.